It’s February, and in the Kennebunks, that means Paint the Town Red, where folks can enjoy special romance dining or hotel packages, or both. Tammy Wells photo Dan King photo

KENNEBUNKPORT – It is the month that brings romance to mind more than any other – February, when lovers mark Valentine’s Day.

In the Kennebunks, it is the month when traditionally, merchants, hoteliers and restauranteurs go all out to celebrate the warmth of romance when the elements themselves are apt to be snow-covered and chilly. They call it Paint the Town Red.

And they’re still painting it, this year, though COVID-19 remains with us. But folks can still dine at some of the communities’ restaurants, inside – or in heated quarters outside – or with a tasty meal to take home. Or those from an hour away or several hours away can make their way to the area and enjoy a few weekdays or a weekend by the sea, and celebrate hearts and Valentines throughout the month of February.

This marks the sixth year of Paint the Town Red, said Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Arundel Chamber of Commerce Director Laura Dolce.

The concept came from (businesswoman) Deb Lennon several years ago, to highlight and create fun things for people to do here in February, typically a quieter time in the communities, said Dolce. “It’ a good way of reminding people that the Kennebunks are beautiful any time you visit,” she pointed out.

Rachel Pelkey of the Kennebunkport Resort Collection, which includes a number of hotels and restaurants, said the event helps support the shoulder season. And while the presence of the pandemic has seen a bit different Paint the Town Red to some degree, with fewer pop-up retail or dining experiences than in past years, the Kennebunks remain a fun February destination.

Romance is in the air – and hearts are popping up in all sorts of places in Kennebunkport and Kennebunk these days, as the two communities take part in Paint the Town Red. Tammy Wells photo

“Celebrate your love of the Kennebunks the safest say for you,” said Pelkey, pointing to the red “love shack” and “gondola” private, heated dining spaces onthe grounds of  the Boathouse Waterfront Hotel and Restaurant, socially-distance dining inside, or to special “stay” packages at the hotels.

At Chez Rosa, owners Kyle Robinson and Yazmin Saraya Jean offer a special Valentine’s Day meal on Feb. 14, and will temporarily shutter the restaurant for winter break Feb. 15 until reopening on April 2. Chez Rosa is offering a Valentine’s Day three course meal – the menu is at www.chezrosabistro.com. For those who prefer takeout, the chefs have devised fondue kits – a great way to have a romantic evening at home, the couple said in an email.

At the Inn at English Meadows, socially distanced afternoon tea with a chocolate theme will be served on Valentine’s Day.

For a complete list of February specials for Paint the Town Red, visit www.lovethekennebunks.com.

The Lobster Trap Tree in Cape Porpoise has been decorated for Valentine’s Day and the Paint the Town Red event. Cynthia Fitzmorris photo

Comments are not available on this story.